People always tell me they don’t know how I come up with a new recipe idea every few days. But really, it’s easy. Inspiration can come from anywhere – a processed food that I want to try making myself, a photo I’ve seen in a magazine, even just that last vegetable lingering in the back of my fridge. I love looking at an ingredient and thinking up new ways to use it (like blending roasted aubergine into pasta sauce!).
Take granola, for instance. Who says you just have to pour milk over it, and leave it at that? There are so many more interesting and fun ways to use granola!
Nutri-Brex challenged me to think of five new ways to use their ‘5 ways granola’, which comes in two flavours – honey, almonds and seeds; and hazelnut, coconut and quinoa. Like the name suggests, there are 5 obvious ways to use the Nutri-Brex granola – in porridge, as a topping for yogurt, as bircher muesli, in a smoothie, or as a standard granola with milk. As you can see in the photo above, the texture is finer than some other granolas, which makes it even more versatile – you can almost use it in place of oats in a recipe, but with the added flavours, seeds, etc.
For my five granola recipes, I used a couple of the ideas listed on the Nutri-Brex packets, as well as a few ideas of my own. It’s Better Breakfast Day today, but I made a few dessert recipes too. They were all winners! What’s your favourite way to use granola?
1. Granola apple crumble
Try adding a handful of granola to your favourite fruit crumble topping – it makes it feel more substantial and hearty, and gives it a much more interesting texture. This time I used the Nutri-Brex honey, almonds and seeds granola. Almonds go really nicely with apples, and the honey flavour added an extra hint of sweetness. I’ve included my usual apple crumble recipe below, but you can apply the same idea to any other fruit crumble if you prefer (I love apple and pear!).
- 2 large cooking apples (e.g. Bramley apples)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 100 g butter, diced (room temperature)
- 100 g (~ 1/2 cup) plain flour
- 100 g (~ 3/4 cup) granola - I used Nutri-Brex honey, almonds and seeds granola)
- 3 tbsp sugar
Peel the cooking apples, and cut into bite-sized chunks. Add them to a baking dish, and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix to combine, and set aside.
Add the diced butter and plain flour to a mixing bowl. With clean hands, rub together between your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the granola and a little more sugar, and mix to combine.
Scatter the crumble mixture over the apples, and bake at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the crumble topping is golden and crispy.
2. Pina colada breakfast parfait
If you’re a fan of a make-ahead breakfast, a granola parfait is a really easy option. Just layer up Greek yogurt, granola and fruit, then leave it in the fridge til morning. You can flavour your breakfast parfaits however you like – different flavours of yogurt and different fruits will give a completely different breakfast each day. This time I used the Nutri-Brex hazelnut, coconut and quinoa granola with coconut flavoured yogurt and fresh pineapple to give a pina colada-inspired breakfast (shot of rum on the side optional!).
- Coconut flavoured yogurt
- Fresh pineapple
- Granola (I used Nutri-Brex hazelnut, coconut and quinoa granola)
- Toasted coconut shavings
Layer up the yogurt, pineapple and granola in a glass or jar until full. Top with toasted coconut, and store in the fridge until ready to eat.
3. Slow cooker pear and cinnamon porridge
Porridge can be made in all sorts of ways – in the microwave, on the hob, and even in the slow cooker. I love the slow cooker method for lazy weekend mornings. When you first wake up, turn on the Crock-Pot, then go back to bed for another couple of hours! The fine texture of the Nutri-Brex honey, almonds and seeds granola means it works really well in porridge, with the extra almonds and seeds giving a more interesting texture. Add a few fresh pears and a good dash of cinnamon for a tasty autumnal breakfast.
- 335 g (~ 2 1/2 cups) granola (I used Nutri-Brex honey, almonds and seeds granola)
- 650 ml (~ 2 1/2 cups) milk
- 350 ml (~1 1/2 cups) water
- 2-3 pears, diced
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, and mix well. Cook on low for around 2 hours, until cooked to your desired consistency. You can adjust the cooking time or the amount of liquid to make a thicker or runnier porridge.
4. Granola-bottomed strawberry cheesecake
I think this may be the best cheesecake I’ve ever made. The topping is smooth and creamy and fluffy, and the granola base is hearty and chewy – not to mention super easy to make. I used the Nutri-Brex hazelnut, coconut and quinoa granola for my strawberry cheesecake, but use whatever works best with your chosen fruit. It’s more substantial than a standard biscuity base, so really holds its own against the rich cheesecake topping.
- 125 g (~ 1 cup) granola (I used Nutri-Brex hazelnut, coconut and quinoa granola)
- 50 g (~ 1/4 cup) melted butter
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 450 ml (~ 1 3/4 cups) double cream
- 300 g (~ 1 cup) cream cheese
- 160 g (~ 1 cup) icing sugar
- 150 g strawberries, diced (~ 1 cup when diced) - plus more to decorate, if desired
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Add the granola, melted butter and honey to a bowl, and mix thoroughly. Thoroughly grease a cake tin (mine measured around 8 inches in diameter), and add the granola mixture. Press it down firmly, and leave to harden in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to thoroughly whisk the double cream until it forms stiff peaks. Add the cream cheese, icing sugar, diced strawberries and vanilla, and mix again on a lower speed until well combined. Spoon the mixture on top of the cheesecake base, and smooth out the top. Decorate the top of the cheesecake with additional strawberries if desired. Leave in the fridge for at least a few hours, until firm.
5. Peaches and cream smoothie
Finally, a smoothie! Adding a handful of granola to your smoothie helps to make it extra rich and creamy, and will keep you full for much longer. I used the Nutri-Brex honey, almonds and seeds granola, along with fresh peaches and creamy Greek yogurt, for my peaches and cream smoothie.
- 2 fresh peaches, pits removed
- 1-2 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 30 g (~ 1/4 cup) granola (I used Nutri-Brex honey, almonds and seeds granola)
- 250 ml (~ 1 cup) milk
- 1/2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Add all the ingredients to a high-powered blender, and blend thoroughly until smooth. Serve lightly chilled.
Phew! There you have it – 5 fun ways to use granola. Not all of these recipes will work with a chunkier granola, so make sure you get your hands on the Nutri-Brex 5 ways granola!
Do you ever use granola as an ingredient in your cooking?